Maribel Sarante is not the first, and likely not the last, female officer in New York City to allege that she experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. As her lawyer told the New York Post, “Sexual harassment is a huge problem within the Police Department, and they don’t take it seriously, and that’s why it keeps on happening.”
Sarante filed two official complaints with the NYPD Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (OEEO), about the lewd and inappropriate behavior of a superior sergeant in her Lower East Side precinct. After the OEEO had concluded that her allegations could not be corroborated, Sarante submitted a notice of claim in anticipation of bringing a 15 million dollar lawsuit.
Sarante alleges that the sexual harassment began in 2015 when the alleged perpetrator became her squad sergeant. She claims that he “started making comments and asked if I would do a threesome with his wife.” There were allegedly other sexual propositions as well. Sarante also said that the sergeant directed a sexual joke toward her during roll call, used vulgar language about women’s anatomy and made lewd comments to other female officers.
When Sarante rebuffed the sergeant, her supervisor and colleagues, she claims, “retaliated, by changing her assignments and work hours to make her workplace intolerable.” She told the New York Post that she switched to the graveyard shift to avoid interacting with the sergeant. The notice of claim also accuses superiors of making false allegations about her work.
Sarante has not filed a lawsuit yet, but her matter calls attention to how difficult it can be to report and remedy sexual harassment on your own. Whether you follow the proper internal channels, file official complaints or lawsuits, many victims of discrimination do not get the amount of support they need to fight the fight. If you experience backlash at work or fear for your job, it gets even harder to proceed.
Sarante was reluctant to come forward. She was so sick about the events that she lost 25 lbs and was fearful of the professional ramifications that might befall her if she complained. Her impetus for speaking up, she said, was to prevent the sergeant and other NYPD officers from “targeting other women.”
If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, you don’t have to handle it alone. Employment discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. are here to assist you throughout the entire process. We can help collect information, build your case, file a claim, negotiate a settlement, and represent you at trial if that’s what it takes to get you the monetary damages to which you are entitled.
Call Leeds Brown, taking sex harassment cases in New York City and the entire NY metropolitan area, today for a free case evaluation. You can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-585-4658.